Did You Know

Location Details

House of Knowledge

Committed to collecting, preserving and promoting books, reading, writing and research in the UAE and wider Arab world
Established in 1981, the National Library houses the UAE’s largest collection of books, manuscripts, other documents and digital knowledge resources. It also promotes a culture of reading and writing in the UAE, and is an important resource for researchers and academics.

The National Library contains more than 389,267 titles, over 1,700 manuscripts, and more than 30,000 rare books and texts. The collection covers many languages, but principally Arabic and English. 

With more than 15 active collections, the library addresses all the needs of its visitors, from children using neighbourhood branches to international researchers looking for highly specialised titles. Collections range from Law and Policy, Language and Literature and Do It Yourself to ; Science, Religion and Philosophy, Performing Arts and Sports.

The entire catalogue of National Library titles can be searched via the online catalogue. This is particularly beneficial to academics and researchers conducting work that is focused on the United Arab Emirates, the Gulf region and the wider Arab world.


The National Library continually expands its catalogue and subject-matter collections to provide through the direct purchase of titles, exchanges with other libraries and ‘gifting.’
Gifted titles are those publications that cannot be purchase but are provided to the National Library. These documents are most often from academic, research and government entities and can include government agency statistical publications, annual reports, parliamentary minutes and national bibliographies. 
The library also works with local and international universities, scientific research centres and cultural institution to acquire their publications as part of the gifting programme.

Manuscript Collection

The library also collects and preserves ancient Arab and Islamic manuscripts that address topics such as literature, religion, science and the arts. These include a large number of rare handwritten volumes written in a wide range of traditional Arabic scripts. These script varieties include Al Naskh, Maghrabi, Andalusian and Persian. 
The collection also includes more than 25,000 microfilm and 40,000 microfiche titles, including collections from the Juma Majed Cultural and Heritage Centre and the British Museum.

Community Activities

The National Library operates a growing number of community libraries in neighbourhoods across Abu Dhabi emirate. These branches host programmes such as mother and child pre-school activities, children’s story-time sessions, workshops to develop children's reading skills, book signings and art displays.
Professional outreach programmes include training sessions and workshops for government and private school librarians. 

Initiatives and Programmes

The National Library hosts festivals such as the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair and the Al Ain Book Fair, and awards programmes such as the Sheikh Zayed Book Award to build awareness and interest in reading and writing among the UAE population and the wider Arabic-speaking world. 
The organisation also publishes original works in Arabic, as well as foreign books translated into Arabic through programmes such as Kalima and Esdarat, and supports Emirati authors through the Qalam initiative.
For more information on National library click here.

Did You Know?

The National Library’s collection of handwritten manuscripts is primarily written in the Arabic, Farsi, Ottoman Turkish and Urdu languages.

Location Details


Street # 79 - Abu Dhabi

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